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If the game of pool brings to mind smoke-filled pool halls, then think again. Pool is relatively easy to learn how to play, yet very difficult to master, which makes it a fun activity for the whole family.

If your new home has a large space that would make for a good game room, then consider a billiard table as the focal point of that space. This guide to the basics of pool table buying can get you started.

Cost Considerations:
A pool table is an investment. Basic tables, which are commonly found in homes, cost about $1,500 and can last for 10 years or more if they are well taken care of. Mid-range tables can cost up to $3,000. They feature high-quality slate, wood and bumpers and are more decorative than other tables. If money is no object, you can consider a custom table, but that’s really an option for serious players.

Who’s Playing?:
When debating the size of the investment you want to make in a pool table, think about who will be playing. If you envision family fun, you may want to go with a lower-cost option because you don’t want to stress over kids damaging the table or ripping felt. If you’re serious about the game, then a more expensive table might appeal to you.

Find the Right Accessories:
You need more than just a table to play pool. You will need to buy balls, cues, a bridge and chalk to start. If you want your game room to look its best, you’ll also want to invest in a rack and proper lighting.

Other Games:
You can add to the family fun by adding an air hockey, foosball or shuffleboard table to your game room. If you want to take things to the next level, buy a big TV and bar to make this a destination for entertaining friends and family.

Don’t Ignore Your Table:
Now that you’ve become a billiard table owner, you need to take proper care of it. Keep it covered when it’s not in use, and there will be times when you need to call in a service expert to repair pockets and cushions or to level the table.

And then you’ll be set up for years of family fun—and some friendly competition.

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